The Oscar-winning stars and its director, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, were reportedly troubled when they realised that Aviron Pictures were suspending all prints and advertising spend just before boarding a plane to Los Angeles for the US press junket.
According to Deadline, sources claimed that a paltry nine TV adverts aired at times slots that would not have helped create buzz for the film, which has received negative – if entertaining – reviews since its release.
The site reports that McConaughey is particularly angry “over feeling like he was duped” about the film’s promised publicity rollout.
Aviron initially declined to comment on the story, but eventually responded to requests – and cited the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score of 23% as an excuse to hold back on P&A spend.
“We had the best intentions for Serenity. We were excited for the opportunity to release this uniquely original movie and work with such a stellar cast and talented filmmakers. As much as we love this film and still hope it finds its audience, we tested and retested the film — with audiences and critics alike — and sadly, the data demonstrated that the film was not going to be able to perform at our initial expectations, so we adjusted our budget and marketing tactics accordingly.
“Regardless of the spend, it’s next to impossible for an adult-skewing drama to overcome a 23% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a D+ CinemaScore. To have spent more would have been irresponsible to our capital partners and wouldn’t have made prudent business sense for an independent distributor.
“We have enormous respect and admiration for the talent and all the hard work they put into the film and wish the box office results were better.”
Serenity is released in the UK on 1 March
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